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Victoria’s Secret has signed soccer World Cup winner Megan Rapinoe and actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas in a desperate bid to rebuild its brand and appeal to a broader market, Page Six has exclusively learned.
The beleaguered lingerie giant is relaunching and moving away from its traditionally rail-thin models by introducing The VS Collective with diverse “leading icons” and “changemakers” — including Jonas and Rapinoe — to “shape the future of the brand,” an industry insider told Page Six.
But don’t expect to see “White Tiger” star Chopra and Rapinoe — who has been a preeminent voice in the fight for women’s equal pay in the soccer world — posing in the firm’s famously flimsy, barely-there briefs.
We are told they are both being hired as spokeswomen and will instead appear on a podcast and in marketing materials for the recovering brand.
Chopra and Rapinoe will join Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech, freestyle skier Eileen Gu, Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio, plus-size model Paloma Elesser, and journalist Amanda de Cadenet, who will host a 10-episode podcast where each of the women will share their stories.
“It’s a group of women inspiring change and positivity. It’s another step they’re taking towards transforming the brand. The entire industry thought Victoria Secret was done,” an insider said.
Whether this new move will translate to the VS stores — which traditionally stock smaller sizes and do not cater to curvier women — is yet to be seen.
Another source added, “[The Collective] is completely cause-driven … The idea is to create this community of outsiders looking in. It’s a new generation for the brand that is more about inclusivity.
“And they [Victoria’s Secret] needed it if they wanted to stay afloat. The brand was stuck in an era that never evolved. It’s a different world now.”
Victoria’s Secret was recently spun off by its owner into a separate company, which is soon to be publicly traded, as its once-battered business reportedly showed signs of bouncing back during the pandemic.
Owner L Brands said in May that it would stage an initial public offering for the undie empire by August, which makes the timing of this new announcement key.
The company also has shed management who had been accused of fostering a sexist brand image. Its longtime chairman and chief executive Les Wexner stepped away from the company following a series of embarrassing stories about his business ties to the late pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.
In 2018, former chief marketing officer, Ed Razek left the company after claiming the public has no interest in seeing plus-size or transgender models on the catwalk, saying, “The show is a fantasy.” The day he left, trans model Sampaio shot her first campaign for the brand.
Shortly after Razek’s comments the Victoria’s Secret Catwalk show, once graced by the likes of Gisele Bundchen, Heidi Klum and Miranda Kerr, was also cancelled.
Reps for Rapinoe, Chopra and Victoria’s Secret didn’t immediately get back to us.
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